daniel0224Dear All,

Last year’s message for Yontif has stayed with me each day since.  The first night of Rosh Hashanah, I shared how I felt lost in my own anger and frustration at the hopeless state of the world, but declared that over the next ten days, I would look for a way to “see it in myself, and move on” toward how life “should be.”  Over those next days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we read about Hagar at the well, Abraham’s almost-sacrifice of Isaac, and Jonah’s despair.  Lo and behold, in every case, God “opened their eyes,” and each storyline turned from the darkness to the light. Inspired, I searched my own depths and have been rewarded with much clearer vision — 20/20, if you will.  And we will all need the clearest vision in 2020 (5780) to discover all the solutions we, our families, and our friends will need to move us back into the light.  We must find our way together through kindness, love, understanding, and finally, a shared vision of the world we want to see. Creating that vision requires action and I would like to offer some inspiration from Beah Richards’s poem Today, so powerfully and eloquently recited below by my dear friend, Ruby Dee.

There have been many new additions and exciting changes to the sanctuary at St. John’s and we remain ever grateful to our friend, Pastor Mark Erson, for embracing Village Yontif for the fifteenth year of services.

Looking forward to seeing you in shul,

Daniel Neiden, Cantor


TODAY, written by Beah Richards. Recited by Ruby Dee.

Today is ours, let’s live it.  And love is strong, let’s give it.
A song can help, let’s sing it. And peace is dear, let’s bring it.
The past is gone, don’t rue it. Our work is here, let’s do it.
Our world is wrong, let’s right it. The battle hard, let’s fight it.
The road is rough, let’s clear it. The future vast, don’t fear it.
Is faith asleep? Let’s wake it. Today is ours, let’s take it.


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